We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

I never expected an honest lockdown reckoning

“Since apologies are now required. Challenging any consensus is fundamentally important to good science – especially that of an unproven intervention such as lockdown. The onus should have been on those proposing such a radical new policy to justify it, not the reverse. Sweden is the elephant in the room. A nation of relatively similar wealth and standing to us, it largely avoided lockdowns yet has emerged with impressively low excess deaths. Should the inquiry not be asking how? Anders Tegnell, the architect of their successful strategy, should have been a priority witness.”

– Prof Karol Sikora is a consultant oncologist. Daily Telegraph (£)

When the pandemic petered out and lockdowns were – with some reluctance from the powers-that-be – abandoned, there was some speculation about how there needed to be “a reckoning” over the damage done, that we should examine the Swedish case, and re-visit the Great Barrington Declaration’s arguments. But I feared at the time that this was unlikely to happen, at least for some time with the present political establishment. Simple reputation protection is part of it. Also, it appears the large majority of the public in countries such as the UK supported lockdowns. Maybe too many voters did not want to face the full, ugly fact that what had been done was a massive mistake, on a par with entering a war. In this day and age – and I suspect it has been like this since forever – soul searching and honest reflection is not encouraged. Parts of the media probably thought the same about lockdowns and in far too few cases has there been much reflection. You can almost detect a certain awkwardness. I mean, at any social gathering I have been at, among journalists and suchlike, the folly of lockdowns never comes up unless I raise it (I try not to make a habit of it, mind), and if I ever do, I get that “oh, look at that oddball” stare, or desire to shift the conversation to something less controversial.

On the Conservative and Labour sides, and across the public sector, most were invested into lockdowns; already, when I saw journalists have a go at the Boris Johnson government, for example, it was usually that it did not lock down hard enough and early enough. The whole “meta-context” was about repression, speed and duration of lockdown, and the need to throw the full apparatus of the State at it. The idea that ordinary members of the public were already acting to socially distance back in February and early March of 2020, that various methods, freely embraced, might have made a difference (I am not a doctor, so usual disclaimers), were ignored. Not just ignored, but as we saw over the GBD crowd, mocked and scorned.

It became clear to me that there is a clear overlap between the lockdowners, as I call them, and much of today’s Green movement. It was hard for me to ignore an almost pleasurable embrace of lockdowns by the Greens. I mean, we’d stopped most people flying! Look at how clear the canals of Venice are, daaaahling. The Net Zero phenomenon, whatever else it is, is about using the coercive power of the State to force people to change how they behave in ways they will find restrictive and unpleasant for some sort of supposed provable collective goal. The lockdowns were a trial run, in a way, for the sort of repressive measures that such Green activists seek. In one story, an academic suggested that lockdowns were actually a sort of “liberation”.

Clearly, it is possible to be alarmed by all this even if you are, for example, concerned about viruses, possibly cooked up in a lab, or Man-made global temperature increases. These are matters of empirical science. Just because freedom-loving individuals don’t like lockdowns or restrictions on fossil fuels doesn’t mean these fears are unfounded. (The correct approach is to accept the best evidence available without rushing to junk freedom.) But it surely does suggest that in so many cases, top-down responses to this or that threat need to be questioned more. To go back to the quote at the top of this article, there is a need for a burden of proof to sit with those who want to slam measures on the public, not the other way around. And there needs to be more willingness to embrace the solutions and tools to which a free, entrepreneurial society give rise to.

51 comments to I never expected an honest lockdown reckoning

  • DiscoveredJoys

    “Clearly, it is possible to be alarmed by all this even if you are, for example, concerned about viruses, possibly cooked up in a lab, or Man-made global temperature increases. These are matters of empirical science.”

    Unfortunately empirical science has been (mostly) shouldered aside by those with a self-interest in ‘alarmism’. Alarmism to drive a preferred political outcome.

    Fortunately scientific theories are always provisional and there’s a career to be made in overturning incorrect theories for better ones. It just takes time, sometimes a generation or more, for this to happen… however politics works on a ‘this time it will be different’ basis and often works against revealed truths.

  • Karol was always vigorously critical of the lockdowns and hence ridiculed by the establishment. After all, he’s an oncologist, so knows nothing about covid, blah, blah, blah.

  • Stonyground

    “…Man-made global temperature increases. These are matters of empirical science.”

    In this particular case, the empirical evidence is that the notion that CO2 emissions have any significant effect on temperatures isn’t there. There is no correlation between atmospheric CO2 levels and temperature. For a while natural variations gave an illusion of correlation but that has now passed as temperatures have been stable for over twenty years and may even have started falling. Witness the desperate lies now being put out on a daily basis by the alarmists, If the whole thing was true it would be completely obvious to everyone by now.

  • Stonyground

    If only there were some way to distinguish between experts who actually know what they are talking about and “experts” who only claim that they do. Free and open discussion maybe, something like that.

  • Paul Marks

    The international establishment lied about everything concerning Covid.

    They lied about its origins – claiming it came from a “Wet Market” (some animal or other) when it was really created “enhanced” in the lab in Wuhan by research part funded by agencies of the United States government, and-also, the Eco Health Alliance (this is what Wikipedia would call a “Conspiracy Theory”, but then those “good students” call the truth about any political subject, including out-in-the-open ones such as Frankfurt School Marxism, a “Conspiracy Theory”).

    The international establishment lied about Early Treatment – claiming there were no effective Early Treatments, when there were several. Think about that – the international establishment allowed very large numbers of people to die, who could have been saved. If that is not mass murder – it is something very close to it.

    And the international establishment lied about “lockdowns” – knowing they would be medically useless, indeed highly damaging. But the international economy “had to be” wreaked – in order to promote the concentration of economic power under government and vast “partner” corporations (as if Credit Money did not do that enough already), and, in the context of the United States, to give an excuse for a tidal wave of fake “mail-in-ballots” because “Trump” was a barrier to international “governance” so “Trump” had to be “got out” – got out of the way, for the “noble” cause of international “governance” (another “Conspiracy Theory” which has been in public documents, out in the open, for decades – since at least the Rio Conference of 1992 – of which DiscoveredJoys is well aware, the “science” of the “C02 is evil” theory being for the political purpose of justifying international governance).

    The only good thing to come out of any of this, is that we now know just how corrupt, how plain evil, the international establishment (the “international community” with their “public-private partnership” and “rules based international order”) is.

    We now know how evil the international establishment are, but is there any way to defeat them? Or is it already too late?

  • Paul Marks

    By the way – a letter for a Covid “vaccination” came through my letter box (here in the United Kingdom) only a few days ago – the international establishment, the international Corporate State, are still pushing this stuff.

    “Do not accuse people of evil when they may just be ignorant” – it is not possible for them not to know, by now, of the injuries and deaths caused by the injections they are pushing.

    Internationally, especially in the United States, there is something much darker than ignorance or stupidity at work.

  • Ferox

    “Clearly, it is possible to be alarmed by all this even if you are, for example, concerned about viruses, possibly cooked up in a lab, or Man-made global temperature increases. These are matters of empirical science.”

    For me, empirical science means science that is testable; that is, hypotheses which can be tested for correspondence with actual observable reality. Wikipedia has this to say: “Empiricism, often used by natural scientists, says that ‘knowledge is based on experience’ and that ‘knowledge is tentative and probabilistic, subject to continued revision and falsification’.[5] Empirical research, including experiments and validated measurement tools, guides the scientific method.

    Using any budget limitations you like, and marshalling as many investigative resources as you might require, please propose an experiment that might falsify the hypothesis of anthropogenic global warming.

    Go ahead, I’ll wait. While you are working on that, let me suggest that if such a falsifying experiment cannot be devised, then it might not be syntactically proper to refer to such hypotheses as “scientific”.

  • Paul Marks

    Look at the international cooperation involved with Covid.

    Yes it was created in the lab in Wuhan – but that place was part funded by the “Eco Health Alliance” (the “Green” angle is obvious) Peter Daszak (British – and a high official of the World Health Association, the “WHO” which down played the virus till it spread round the world) and agencies of the American government (China and America working together – at the level of bureaucrats) – the American government agencies which (in partnership with vast Corporations) then denied, and smeared, effective Early Treatments for Covid – thus condemning very large numbers of people to death, and then pushed (and are still pushing) toxic injections – as if they had not killed enough people already.

    And the international response – more power to World Health Organisation to order lockdowns in future, and to CENSOR dissent.

    Remember “health” is now NOT about individual human beings and their personal healer – it is now a “societal concept” meaning total control of all aspects of life (very “Eco Health Alliance”) on an international level – oh how convenient.

    Sometimes it is funny, in a utterly sick way, for example the American officials who would not let people go to work – but encouraged them (yes encouraged them) to loot, burn and kill (yes – they killed), because “Racism is a Public Health Emergency” (the LIE that Mr George Floyd, who died of the drugs he consumed, was killed by a “racist cop”).

    But it is always very convenient for the agenda of giving control over all aspects of life to international authorities and partner corporations.

    Whether the excuse is “racism”, “sexism”, “Islamophobia”, “the climate – C02 is evil!”, or “public health” the response is always the same – more power to government and to partner corporations, at an international level.

  • David Roberts

    Stonyground, a guide that I have found mostly works, is the proposition, that a true expert is reduced to “I don’t know” after three questions from an intelligent child.

  • Y. Knott

    “There is no correlation between atmospheric CO2 levels and temperature.”

    – I can explain this. Oh come on – I just KNOW you want me to… 😉

    I imagine you’ve all snorkelled in tropical waters – and if you haven’t, for goodness’ sake what are you waiting for? All those lovely clear waters, all those colourful little fishes… just mind you don’t get flung-onto a coral head by the waves. I also imagine most of you haven’t snorkelled in northern waters, and for two real good reasons – the visibility is cr@p, and I’ve seen 29°F (-1.5°C) on my SCUBA console. Who wants to snorkel in water that cold? Well, when you contrast the visibility in warm southern waters vs cold northern waters, you’re confronted with an enormous fact of life – one that wipes-out most of CAGW dogma with one stroke of the pen, and the secret lies in the difference in visibility.

    I don’t know why – a simple density difference due to temperature shouldn’t explain it, and anybody who can explain it please feel free to do so – but the colder the water is, the more dissolved gases it can hold; I would’ve thought it worked the other way ’round. And this is why tropical waters are so lovely and clear – there’s less dissolved oxygen in them, so there’re fewer tiny marine organisms that can get enough oxygen to live in them. They cloud the cold northern waters causing almost-nil visibility, but tropical waters are a marine desert with much less life than cold northern waters and hence, much better visibility. And this becomes really significant if you go deeper than ~300 metres, anywhere in the world – with huge relevance for all life on Earth.

    Because deeper than ~300 metres (we spell it ‘meters’ over here), the world ocean is uniformly 4°C – and there’s a WHOLE lot of water down there. This deep, very cold water holds vast reserves of dissolved CO2, which it would release if it warmed up – but the temperatures needed to warm the deep ocean don’t come along very often, and have to linger a long time to have any real effect. And this is where the whole “CO2 causes global warming” meme falls on its face – because for warmer temperatures to materially affect the deep ocean and hence cause it to release extra CO2, takes about 800 years.

    So yes – CO2 FOLLOWS temperature – by ~800 years – it does not CAUSE it.

  • Lee Moore

    If only there were some way to distinguish between experts who actually know what they are talking about and “experts” who only claim that they do.

    The non-expert expert is a bit of a problem, I agree, but I think the bigger problem is the non-independent expert, who being dependent, then becomes extremely dependable as far as the authorities are concerned. Or put another way, of the original stock of potential experts, those with non dependable personalities and inclinations are weeded out along the way.

    Free and open discussion maybe, something like that.

    Which really requires some sort of “anti-trust” regime for the sources of that experts rely upon – ie academic positions, grants, publication access etc. As somebody said a long time ago, we really need more than one Monopolies Commission.

  • JohnK

    I did not have high hopes for the Covid inquiry, and it does not look as if I will be disappointed. The contempt they have shown to Dr Carl Heneghan demonstrates this. I suppose it was too much to hope that an enquiry set up by the government would find that the actions of government constituted the greatest peacetime disaster in history. Far easier to conclude that lockdowns should have been harder and longer, and that masks work.

  • Paul Marks

    JohnK – sadly so.

    The evil continues.

  • Dave Ward

    The international Corporate State, are still pushing this stuff

    I’ve recently had a blizzard of texts from my surgery, urging me to have the latest jab. But also several informing of “unexpected” staffing problems meaning the practice won’t be open on particular day. How this would be any different to a “normal” day is hard to fathom: on the few occasions I’ve been to the attached pharmacy this year, the waiting room has been completely empty, the reception desk shutters closed, and nobody (staff or patients) came in or out during the time I was observing. You’ll not be surprised to hear that this practice was castigated in a recent satisfaction survey…

  • X Trapnel

    Longrider – quite.

    Opposition to The Science will always require as a precondition of entering the fray evidence of scientific qualification. This precondition is necessary but not, alas, sufficient, as the oncologist’s expertise being roundly pilloried by scientists and non-scientists alike demonstrates.

    Support for The Science however never requires a professional or academic qualification to justify it. As Jesus said to Doubting Thomas:

    blessed are they that have not seen and have believed.

    I could begin to think that this is a matter of faith, not fact, and that what we’re seeing is sentient and educated people in the act of leaping.

  • Paul Marks

    Dave Ward – it is much the same in my part of the country.

    The people are being told it is due to “lack of money”, due to “Tory cuts”.

    In reality the National Health Service is buried in money – but you know that.

    “So the truth is that the NHS is not very good” – that would be heresy.

    But if they are, accidentally, putting people off the injections, putting people off by their behaviour – they are, unintentionally, saving lives. Good!

    In the United States I am told that only 2% of the population are turning up for their free Covid “boosters”.

    If that is true – it means that 98% of the public have worked out that the government, and the Corporate media, are lying to them. That the injections are as “safe and effective” as the elections are honest (“but we have blackmailed various people to say that the election machines are not rigged” – and the tidal wave of fake mail-in-ballots? “DO NOT MENTION THE FAKE MAIL IN BALLOTS!”).

    If (if) that is so, if people have worked out that the government and the corporate media are lying to them – it is very good news indeed.

    The first step to defeating evil forces is to realise that they are evil.

  • Paul Marks

    The British government attitude to the American elections is interesting.

    “The American elections are not rigged – P.S. to vote here in Britain you must now produce visual I.D. and the ballots must be paper and counted in public, with proper signature checks for any postal ballots”.

    And they try and pretend there is no contradiction in that. Of course the American elections were rigged in several States (in spite of people being blackmailed, “say this against Trump – or we will send you to prison where you will be raped and abused – and if you want to play the tough guy, we will send MEMBERS OF YOUR FAMILY to prison where they will be raped and abused – how tough are you now?”, to say the opposite in forthcoming court cases) – and, in private, British Members of Parliament and senior Civil Servants at the Home Office, admit that the American elections were rigged in several States and-continue-to-be-rigged in several States.

  • APL

    and anybody who can explain it please feel free to do so

    I suggest it’s the material on the sea bed. As evidence, I put forward the Isle of Skye, where there is the remains of an ancient coral reef ( now beach ), the temperature is not much above zero, but the sea on a calm day is a beautiful translucent blue. To the extent, if you weren’t in danger of dying of hypothermia, you might think you were in the tropics.

  • phwest

    Y Knott – if you’re curious, gases dissolve more readily in cold water because they are the more easily excited molecules, so colder temperatures slow gases down more relative to the water and allow more of them to be retained in solution rather than escaping. It’s the same mechanic as distilling higher volatility liquids from a mixture through distillation, except that the dissolved gases are already well above their boiling point.

    Dissolving solids (which is what everyone has practical experience with) work in reverse because the phase change there is from solid to liquid, so higher temperatures allow more of the solid to reach the energy level needed to move into the liquid.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    @Paul Marks: the case for vaccination is increasingly hard to make as a condition of foreign travel, for example, given there is scant evidence it prevents infection. The ONLY reasons that make sense going forward are:

    Like flu jabs for the over-50s, it is a risk-reward calculation that people ought to make of their free will (I have a flu jab these days); and

    If a person got covid and was very sick, and travelling overseas and required medical care, his insurer might require a vaccine as a condition of a policy payout.

  • Jon Mors

    Are you joking Johnathan? The Covid vaccines DO NOT work in ANY way. Same for the flu vaccines, although at least those are thought to be without major side effects (traditional ones anyway).

    I know you find this hard to stomach as you favour yourself a rational chap and you fell for the narrative. Everybody like you who took it ‘for work and travel’ made it much harder for everybody else to resist, and made it easier for the government to coerce certain groups (care home workers in the UK) into taking it.

    Admit your error and move on, and you will be forgiven; I’m sure most of us would admit that we could have fallen for government gaslighting too.

  • Stonyground

    You could make predictions based on the hypothesis, wait thirty years and then observe how many of those predictions proved correct. If the answer is none of them then the hypothesis has been falsified.

  • Stonyground

    The reasons given for the regular flu jabs having limited effectiveness are that, as we all know, cold and flu viruses mutate all the time and so the jab is always going to be a little out of date, it being based on last winter’s bugs instead of the ones that are present this year and that you are at risk of catching. I rarely get colds or flu anyway but I put that partly down to a lifetime of exposure to millions of variations of the bugs. The number of possible variations is probably infinite but a vaccination containing the worst that were around each year might contribute to that lifetime exposure and raise your resistance generally. That is the regular flu jab, the experimental Covid jab works in a different way, if works is the right word for something that appears not to.

  • The lockdowns got a lot of leftie governments embedded like ticks.

  • Y. Knott

    “Y Knott – if you’re curious…”

    – I KNEW it couldn’t simply be a difference in the density! Excerpted to my Quotes page – phwest, thank you very much!

  • Fraser Orr

    I came across this article in the “used to be great” Scientific American. It is an article criticizing a Cochrane study that showed that there was very little evidence that masking worked. Cochrane used randomized controlled trials, the gold standard for these types of thing, and this article criticizes them for only using the premium evidence. Apparently they’d rather they used junk evidence. When the author described a focus on these RCTs as “methodological fetishism” I laughed so hard coffee came out my nose.

    However, the article cites one study purportedly demonstrating the efficacy of masks. Kansas passed a state law mandating masking but gave the counties the option to opt out. 81 out of 105 counties opted out. In the article you see this scary graphic with the opted out counties seeing Covid rates increase by 100% and non opted out counties seeing them down 6%. Sounds convincing, right? But they really don’t give you much detail. But there is enough to glean the deception. For example, on a rolling 5 day average they saw a daily increase of 0.11/100k cases in the opted out counties. No doubt these counties are the more rural conservative ones rather than the urban ones. For those counties the populations are small, maybe on average 30k. So 0.11/100k increase of maybe 1 case per month. This is such a tiny number that it is totally irrelevant statistical noise. There are so many alternative explanations for this, that it is meaningless in itself. For example it spread faster in urban areas, so rural areas got infections spread over longer time periods, or measurement was lower in rural areas and they were catching up, or a whole bunch of other options

    If masking worked there would surely be abundant, irrefutable evidence for it. But there really isn’t, and the fact that their best case data is misleading at best, mendacious at worse tells you all you need to do. When your big criticism of your opponents is that they stuck to closely to the scientific method, methodological fetishism” indeed, they you know your bullshit is beginning to smell pretty bad.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Are you joking Johnathan? The Covid vaccines DO NOT work in ANY way

    Well that may be true, or not. As I said in my comment, the matter should be up to the individual to work out the risks and rewards tradeoffs. I am against all mandates about them. What I am not going to do is fall into the rabbit hole of assuming that these vaccines are useless or evil just because it suits a broadly anti-State narrative with which I would broadly agree. I see far too many people making this mistake, which goes a bit like this:

    “Bad people appear to be in favour of vaccines and a lot of lies were told about X or Y, therefore the vaccines must be useless.” This is the fallacy of motivated reasoning. The same happens with climate change alarmism. The fact that Greens have a utopian fantasy about the Earth is not the same as meaning that the Earth’s climate isn’t affected by C02 levels. The correct response in that case is to say “Yes, the amount of C02 may affect the climate, not always in a good way, but the benefits of cheap and plentiful energy greatly outweigh the costs, and one of the benefits we should want is to allow humanity to flourish more than it does.”

    In trying to fight over whether this or that technology, disease or whatever is good or bad, too often it appears that one’s political convictions take precedence over the facts of the matter. This is a basic mistake, and it grieves me to see too many good folk making it.

  • Lee Moore

    Thanks for that Fraser. I enjoyed this paragraph :

    “Recently Jefferson has claimed that COVID policies were “evidence-free,” which highlights a second problem: the classic error of conflating absence of evidence with evidence of absence. The Cochrane finding was not that masking didn’t work but that scientists lacked sufficient evidence of sufficient quality to conclude that they worked. Jefferson erased that distinction, in effect arguing that because the authors couldn’t prove that masks did work, one could say that they didn’t work. That’s just wrong.”

    Yes, obviously we understand that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence*. But “evidence free” is a description of the former, not the latter. So claiming that something for which there is no evidence is “evidence free” is NOT an example of committing this particular crime against logic. Duh !

    *Of course absence of evidence is sometimes evidence of absence. As in the dog that didn’t bark in the night. Or a virus allegedly acquired from animals that mysteriously lacks any actual animals with that virus.

  • Fraser Orr

    @leeMoore, great point, and great excerpt. It is interesting how in this case science has been turned upside down. Normally in science one has to prove a claim to be believed. In this type of public health science you have to disprove a claim to be believed. It is like going to court with the presumption of guilt and having to prove your innocence.

    It is also like saying — the church claims God created the universe. Scientists don’t know what came before the big bang, therefore the church’s claim must be correct. This is not science, it is, in fact the opposite of science. And, in one respect, even though I am an atheist, I’d rather put my faith in a supposed divine being than Saint Anthony of Fauci.

  • bobby b

    “Normally in science one has to prove a claim to be believed. In this type of public health science you have to disprove a claim to be believed.”

    Just to play devil’s advocate for a minute: In the face of what appears to be a serious epidemic (by which I mean, early on in the situation, before much is known), isn’t such an err-on-the-side-of-caution approach desirable in epidemiologists? “We don’t know if this works yet, but it seems logical that it would, so let’s do it just in case”?

    It seems as if hindsight drives a lot of our four-years-in view of Covid strategy. I wouldn’t wear a mask now – now we have evidence – but didn’t think of it as a purely stupid idea back in 2020.

  • APL

    The Covid vaccines DO NOT work in ANY way. Same for the flu vaccines

    And it now turns out that some batches of the anti ‘COVID19’ vaccines were/are contaminated with SV40 simian virus. (‘coz they are still cranking that shit out )

    That’s the same SV40 virus, that’s associated with cancers.

    “In light of the biological evidence supporting the theory that SV40-contamination of polio vaccines could contribute to human cancers …”

    It was only known to be … how can you say it, … inappropriate in a vaccine in 1963, but the manufacturers of anti COVID19 ‘vaccine’ in 2020 thought, ‘these people are so dumb fuck stupid they’ll just suck it up, no question … “.

    Well, guess what?

  • Fraser Orr

    @bobby b
    Just to play devil’s advocate for a minute: In the face of what appears to be a serious epidemic (by which I mean, early on in the situation, before much is known), isn’t such an err-on-the-side-of-caution approach desirable in epidemiologists?

    Yes, I absolutely agree. In the face of something like that you may well go with the best judgement of the experts doing the best with what they knew at the time. However, if you do that your FIRST PRIORITY is to immediately begin testing if it is actually helping. Because it could be hurting.

    Let me give you an example. During one of the worst plagues in human history, the black death, the authorities were at a complete loss as to the cause. The best knowledge they had at the time was that it was caused by witchcraft. And so, in many cities to deal with the witches they killed or expelled all the black cats in the city. Of course that caused the rodent population to explode, and as you surely know, the actual cause was a bacteria transmitted by fleas that lived on rats. So, what surely seemed like a good precautionary measure, based on their very limited scientific knowledge, actually made the situation dramatically worse.[*]

    So, how do you know? You might try something, but you apply the scientific method rigorously to see if your initial from-the-gut idea actually produces the results you want.

    [*] BTW it is easy to scoff at these people who believed in things like witchcraft. But I honestly think these people were doing the best they could with what they knew. Before we get too full of ourselves we need to remember that all of us sat through high school science classes and read a couple of science books. These books distilled the life works of millions of dedicated scientists through history who somehow managed to tease out of nature the truth of what was actually going on. Imagine if you were dropped here on earth without all that easily available scientific knowledge. Why do rocks sink and wood floats? Why when you cut yourself does pus come out of the wound? Why, out of the blue, did my child start coughing up blood and die without explanation. Why when I eat these red berries do I feel good, but if I eat those I’d die? Why does the earth shake? Why are their flashes of light in the sky when it rains? Why did the rain fall on the crops last year but not this year? You wouldn’t have a clue. Religion is our first attempt at science and philosophy, and we who have the privilege of all the work of those millions of men and women,distilled into bite sized chunks, have no right to think less of them because they weren’t so lucky.

    It is also why as we watch science being turned on its head for political ends, it both fills be with rage and tears at the same time. What a treasure to piss away for a bunch of narcissistic politicians.

  • bobby b

    “So, what surely seemed like a good precautionary measure, based on their very limited scientific knowledge, actually made the situation dramatically worse.”

    All true. Agree with what you’re saying throughout your comment. And I do remember that some non-witchcraft-fearing people also had a weird and rather unsupported idea that the plague was carried by some flux in the air, and so started wearing rags around their faces, which actually did do some good in the face of the bacteria that was much larger than Covid.

    All hindsight. As we learned more – science! – we realized that masks didn’t stop viral Covid. At that point, it became social signaling, and a superstition of its own. But I can’t dis the people who started out with the mask idea.

    (P.S. I’m still convinced that the government’s push for masks was more a way to calm the frightened hordes – “we’re doing SOMETHING to help ourselves!” – than as a barrier to transmission.)

  • bobby b

    “And it now turns out that some batches of the anti ‘COVID19’ vaccines were/are contaminated with SV40 simian virus.”

    Which, interestingly enough to a lawyer, might be an avenue around the blanket immunity from lawsuit granted to the vax makers. They were immunized for the basic idea and structure and effect of the vaccine itself – but not for simple product liability for a badly-made product.

    The plaintiff lawyers’ associations are starting to host lots of seminars in how to successfully sue around the immunity. That’s usually how mass-tort waves start.

  • Snorri Godhi

    “Just to play devil’s advocate for a minute: In the face of what appears to be a serious epidemic (by which I mean, early on in the situation, before much is known), isn’t such an err-on-the-side-of-caution approach desirable in epidemiologists? We don’t know if this works yet, but it seems logical that it would, so let’s do it just in case”?

    Correct as a first approximation, but it’s more complex than that.

    We could agree that this is correct in the case of Italy: they saw covid cases and the death rate ramping up, doubling every 5 days or so, and, not knowing what to do, they did what the Chinese did.

    And it worked: 3 weeks after the lockdown, excess deaths peaked and started to decrease.

    And in spite of the large wheat consumption, the Italians were sane enough not to introduce any more lockdowns in subsequent waves. (Although the English-speaking people were not sane enough to notice.)

    –As a counter-example, take the UK.
    Boris did not err on the side of caution, he erred on the side of irresponsibility.
    He allowed the doubling time to go down to 5 days. With a doubling time as short as that, there is no way that you can avoid a lockdown.

    To avoid a lockdown, Boris should have taken early action, such as the free countries of East Asia did; and the Nordics, and the Baltics. But he is an upper-class English twit.

    Anybody who does not see that keeping the doubling time high is the only way to avoid a lockdown, is objectively pro-lockdown.

  • Lee Moore

    bobby b : just to play devil’s advocate for a minute: In the face of what appears to be a serious epidemic (by which I mean, early on in the situation, before much is known), isn’t such an err-on-the-side-of-caution approach desirable in epidemiologists? “We don’t know if this works yet, but it seems logical that it would, so let’s do it just in case”?

    Up to a point Lord Copper. In this case we had lots of virologists and epidemiologists and suchlike, gainfully employed, largely on the taxpayer’s dime, who over several decades produced recommended plans for dealing with sudden pandemics. And their plans, duly stamped and filed by the relevant government departments, did not in any case recommend lockdowns, school closures, compulsory masking and compulsory jabbing with experimental vaccines. Instead the plans all looked rather like what Sweden did. (Which is why Sweden did it.)

    So when the time came to “do something” – they decided to ….. do the opposite of their emergency plan all worked out previously, not in the heat of an emergency.

    It’s as if after two years of meticulous planning, training, provisioning and tactical preparation for D-Day, Eisenhower had decided on the day “Nah, let’s go in through Norway.”

    Maybe it would have worked, but if you’re going to do that, it had better effing work.

    Since it’s on topic, let’s compare with the standard Civil Service plan for government enquires. It has been unchanged since time immemorial. Select trusted johnnies who will not rock the boat, or take evidence from unsound people. Give them terms of reference which preclude even the possibility of awkward questions. And make sure there’s a top draftsman on the team well practised at glossing over unfortunate details and flitting with agility between motte and bailey. Do they ever depart from this plan ? No, never. Ever.

  • bobby b

    “To avoid a lockdown, Boris should have taken early action, such as the free countries of East Asia did; and the Nordics, and the Baltics. But he is an upper-class English twit.”

    I’m reading this as meaning, Boris should have locked down earlier – “taken early action” – but he dithered – that lockdown was the correct path, but it had to be bravely grasped right away without hesitation. Which is a far cry from “lockdown is bad.” Do I have that correctly?

  • APL

    but not for simple product liability for a badly-made product.

    I’m not sure it was badly made, the sv40 component is, so far as I can make out, in some variants of the anti COVID-19 vaccine, used to get the payload in through the cell wall.

    They were immunized for the basic idea and structure and effect of the vaccine itself

    Perhaps that’s why there are people still clinging to the ‘even though the vaccine works, you’ll still catch COVID-19, but it’ll save you from serious illness’, mantra.

    interestingly enough to a lawyer

    As a spectator, I’d pay a significant sum of money to watch ‘big pharma’ being taken apart by ‘big legal’.

  • bobby b

    “I’m not sure it was badly made, the sv40 component is, so far as I can make out, in some variants of the anti COVID-19 vaccine, used to get the payload in through the cell wall”

    Yeah, I’ve now seen the factual situation described both ways – if the problem is arising because a planned component did something wrong, then the immunity applies, but if it was a contaminate – something not in the design – (showing just poor practices or carelessness) then the immunity may not. That’ll play out soon, I think. Lots of money riding on this. More than asbestos money, and that fueled a couple of industries itself.

  • Paul Marks

    On the Covid injections….

    The first Covid “vaccines” were the Russian one and the British (and Swedish) Astrazeneca one – these are not MRNA technology – but they very much had their own problems, many people were harmed (injured or killed) by the Astrazeneca Covid injections (and how effective these injections were against Covid is hotly debated) and the Astrazeneca injections have been, rather quietly, dropped. What happened in Russia (which used very similar injections) we do not know for sure – but that there are lots of rumours (sadly only rumours – no hard data) that lots of people were harmed in Russia, perhaps even including Mr Putin himself.

    As for MRNA injections of the vast American Corporations – utterly terrible, but these Corporations are so powerful that it is very unlikely that justice will ever be done.

    To put things in context – the “Dominion” election machine Corporation is so powerful that it can make people with legitimate concerns over its voting machines legally crawl and beg for mercy, and Corporations such as Pfizer (a Covid “vaccine” maker) is vastly more powerful – it is very much in “partnership” with the American government, and controls media coverage due to threats of withholding advertising.

    I used to laugh at people who talked about the political power of Corporations – but years of watching both the banks and financial entities (such as BlackRock, State Street, and Vanguard) and now the drug companies, such as Pfizer (in spite of all the injuries and deaths caused by their Covid “vaccines”) have governments and media dance to their tune, has led to the laughter dying in my throat. These Corporations are the modern version of the East India Company denounced by Edmund Burke – they are political entities PRETENDING to just be a “counting house”, a business enterprise.

    On the positive side – I am told that only 2% (two per cent) are lining up to get their free, and toxic, “Covid boosters” – the government and media continue to lie (continue to push the Corporate State line), but most ordinary people now know the truth.

  • Runcie Balspune

    My generation recalls older buildings like schools and churches having those massively overpowered iron radiators that literally burnt you when touched, and there was a reason behind that. People were encouraged to leave windows open to stimulate air circulation, in the winter you needed a mighty ratiator to counterbalance this.

    The idea of air circulation and outdoor activity has long been known as effective prevention of viruses, as learnt from previous epidemics in the early 20th century, a much better solution than masks.

    Nowadays we have the additional benefit of sanitation and easy disinfectant, hand washing and having teams of cleaners regularly wiping down surfaces is far more effective, and in fact wearing a mask contributes to the problem as people tend to touch their face more rather than less.

    Solutions known about for a century were discarded, you can only suspect there was an underlying incentive.

  • Snorri Godhi


    I’m reading this as meaning, Boris should have locked down earlier – “taken early action” – but he dithered – that lockdown was the correct path, but it had to be bravely grasped right away without hesitation. Which is a far cry from “lockdown is bad.” Do I have that correctly?

    In short, no.
    That was the problem in the US and UK: the inability of both sides of seeing things except in black and white.
    (I made that same mistake, for a month or two.)

    –A longer answer:
    Boris should have done **at a minimum** what the Swedes did (and do it EARLY as the Swedes did).
    But he could not, because nobody in the UK seems to know what the Swedes did. They all seem to think that the Swedes did not do anything.

    (You might want to look at the Fount of All Knowledge.)

    Even better would have been doing what the other Nordics and the Baltics did, because that kept R close to unity, which means that the doubling time was close to infinity.
    But we still had no stay-at-home mandates and no closure of “non-essential” businesses — except for cinemas, night clubs, and shops in shopping malls which do not sell food or medicines. Bars, restaurants, and shops open on the street remained open at limited occupancy.

    The important thing to understand (and i did not fully understand it myself until the 2nd wave was over) is that, if you act EARLY, when new cases number at most a few people/million, you can get away with keeping R close to unity.

    If you act when Boris did, then reducing R below unity will seem necessary to the vast majority of voters (not unreasonably), in which case a lockdown is politically unavoidable.

  • Jim

    “Same for the flu vaccines, although at least those are thought to be without major side effects (traditional ones anyway).”

    I thought the gig with the flu vaccines was that there were no population size benefits, but individuals might get some, and other individuals might have a detriment. Ie the flu jab might help someone not get the flu, and/or it not kill them, but it could disrupt another person’s immune system enough to allow them to catch some other infection that might (if they are elderly or sick) kill them? Ie its a lottery that has no overall benefit to society.Its not much use saving 10,000 people from flu if you kill another 10,000 via other infections they wouldn’t have had otherwise.

  • Jim

    Incidentally I spoke to a guy I see regularly at work, hadn’t seen him for a few days, asked how he was, he said he and his entire family had been sick (didn’t say Covid) immediately after having had their covid jabs (not sure how he qualifies, as he’s my age (50s), possibly as he has a disabled daughter) They were all really poorly apparently. I didn’t say anything. When do you think the penny will start to drop with people? After they’ve had 10 jabs and are getting sicker and sicker after each one?

  • Kirk

    All of this leaves out a key and critical issue, here: Politics.

    The response to COVID stems from the unique political situation at the time it hit. They wanted to weaponize the reaction in order to take down Donald Trump, and that’s precisely what it did. It was perfectly analyzed, too… Trump is a known germaphobe, and a guy who has demonstrated the utmost respect for doctors and all that. So, when the twin demons of Birx and Fauci got ahold of him and the COVID narrative, here we are. You also can’t leave out that Fauci and the other NIH bigwigs had a financial interest in the “vaccine” because the NIH held key patents on some of the genetics. That was one reason that the cheap and (apparently…?) effective use of other drugs that are no longer patented was so thoroughly denigrated and downplayed.

    This was, at the least, an opportunistic political hit on Trump. Nothing else explains it; how was it that there were never any actual treatments, aside from the panic-mongering use of ventilators that never made a damn bit of sense? I mean, by all means, let’s drive those viruses down deep, deep into the lungs, by blowing them past the mucosal membranes where they’re breeding, and then wonder why so many are getting worse on “ventilation”?

    Here’s a news flash for all y’all: You typically suffer so badly from respiratory viruses and what-not because you’re a creature living with a lung system meant to go into an quadrupedal organism that breathes horizontally, not vertically. As such, your immune systems and air filtration have to be a lot more effective and efficient than, say, a dog’s. You start doing stupid crap like blowing pressurized air past those filters…? What the hell do you expect? I’m on a CPAP, these days, due to really shitty sinuses I inherited from my maternal side. If I feel a cold coming on, anything going on in my sinuses, I have to cease use of said CPAP or I’m going to be sick for ‘effing weeks, once that crap gets out of the sinuses and down into the lungs.

    Which is why I did that “RCA dog cocked head” when I heard that they were ventilating for this COVID crap. I’d wager you good money that those ventilators killed more damn people than anything else, turning a bad sinus issue into deadly lung infections with great alacrity.

    The panic over all of it, there at the beginning? Mindless blather, most of it. Which is another “tell”; when 90-ish percent survive the “deadly disease”, and it’s only the old-folks homes and invalids you have dying on you? Something is out of alignment with the stories they’re telling you.

    I know people who supposedly died from COVID. Unlucky? Maybe; I suspect most of them had underlying issues they didn’t know about, not the least of which likely included heart disease from all the obesity going around these days, in conjunction with the high-fructose corn syrup they virtually mandated a few decades ago.

    The whole cant of this COVID response would have been different had someone else been in office, here in the US; everyone took the lead for their response of the US and China; the Chinese, we know, were wrong in what they did. So was the US; copying the Chinese lock-down response was utter stupidity, something calculated to destroy the economy at its roots. If you had any idea how many small businesses went under because they couldn’t afford all the mandates that the big-box stores shrugged off, you’d be shocked. Or, maybe not…

    In any event, the left has finally succeeded in politicizing everything, everything there is. Much good will it do them, because the problem that they failed to consider is that when everything is politicized, then when things go wrong…? Who is left holding the bag? Who has to respond to the outraged public, one way or another?

    The more power you have, the more power you grab, the more you absolutely, positively have to get everything right, all the damn time. You fail? You and your politics go down with it.

    This is a feature of reality that every asshole power-grabber seems to miss. Sure, it’s great being the Emperor of China, but what the hell happens when your policies don’t work out? You may get away with the stupid, but over the long haul? Someone is coming to drag you or your successor out of the Forbidden City and then dangle you by your heels over the pumps in some gas station somewhere…

    Ya want ultimate power? Well, you’d better be God-like in your omniscience and judgment, or the whole shoddy edifice you’re erecting will come crashing down around your ears. Time was, that took generations; today? That may only be decades. Look how quickly China has gone from “economic powerhouse” to “probable basket case, when the accounting comes due” under Xi: That’s not going to rub out, folks. Too much debt, too little actual product. When you have entire vacant cities of buildings that are on the verge of collapse? You’ve got big problems, and all that money spent building them represents lost economic opportunity that you’re not getting back.

    Just like what we did with responding to COVID.

  • Fraser Orr

    Just sticking my oar in here, because I hear a lot of anti-vax sentiment in general. Vaccines are one of the greatest inventions of human kind and have saved the lives of billions of people, especially children. From what I can see the Covid vaccine has benefited some people, particularly by reducing the severity of the disease. If I were older and sicker I’d get one (Though probably not the 600 boosters.) However, there does seem to be a much higher side effect profile, in younger people, so it is mad to give it to them. And there is little evidence that vaccinated people are less infectious, so forcing it as a matter of public health rather than “between you and your doctor” is pure tyranny.

    But let’s not mix in flu and measles and rubella and all the other vaccines that have saved many lives. It is just as wrong to be opposed to all vaccines as it is to credulously accept that all vaccines are unadulterated good. Each vaccine should be evaluated on its own merits, on the advice of your doctor. A world without polio and smallpox is a better place.

  • Kirk

    The so-called “COVID vaccines” are not vaccines in the classic sense. They’re experimental mRNA compounds whose testing is questionable and whose efficacy is demonstrably non-existent.

    When you have a situation where a “vaccine” doesn’t stop transmission and doesn’t stop getting the disease, it’s not a vaccine. The “leakage” rate on these COVID “preventatives” are high enough that you really cannot separate the bullshit from the actual benefits, if any.

    Everyone I know who got the vaccines has gotten COVID. Everyone. After they were “vaccinated” and “boosted”. Ain’t nobody I know gotten any of that-there “benefit” of the things, and what’s even worse? I never got vaccinated. I’ve had two bouts of COVID, per the equally questionable home tests. I’ve recovered faster than the “vaccinated” have, and I’ve only had the two run-ins with the crap, one back at the beginning of the pandemic and one just recently. Everyone who’s gotten vaccinated? We’re talking weeks of “sick”; I had two days of high fever this last time, then a week-plus of waiting to test negative on the COVID testing.

    Want to know what’s even more amusing? Family member was undergoing cancer treatment during the time frame I was sick, this last time. The various clinics and hospitals, even at this late date, could not consistently get their act together on protocols. They wanted to release said patient, despite the fact I was still theoretically contagious, and all said “Yeah, don’t worry about that… We don’t think that you need to worry about it…”

    Apparently, when the Medicare money starts to run out, then the COVID protocols get thrown out. I pointed this out to them, asked for an explanation of the inconsistencies, and they had not a damn thing to say.

    Oh, and by the way? I likely got exposed to the crap *at* the hospital/oncology clinics. Despite precautions and all the rest of the whole “Health Care Safety and Sanitation” thing.

    Frankly, if you believe a damn thing that any of those greedy bastards are telling you about those mRNA “vaccines”, then you’re probably not someone who ought to be out in public without a minder. There is something very seriously not right with any of the crap they’ve been telling us, starting from day one. When Pfizer gratuitously zeroed out the controls in its testing? That ought to tell you something, and that something is that they’ve got issues they want hidden. The rest of the secrecy surrounding all of this crap? 75 years until they release the files? WTF? All the money that the NIH types are raking in on their furon cleavage site patents? That doesn’t make you at least a little suspicious about this whole thing?

    The raw numbers on who has gotten sick after getting the supposed immunization ought to make you seriously wonder about the whole idea. I’ve never heard of a “vaccine” that had that sort of failure rate, ever… Except for the equally useless flu vaccines that somehow never kept the flu away.

  • Colli

    Johnathan Pearce said on October 23, 2023 at 5:24 pm

    I see far too many people making this mistake, which goes a bit like this:

    “Bad people appear to be in favour of vaccines and a lot of lies were told about X or Y, therefore the vaccines must be useless.” This is the fallacy of motivated reasoning.

    I think you also see this in the “woke” lefties who claim that because a cisgender white male (or whatever) said something it must be wrong. The ideas which they are supposedly arguing against are never addressed, so it makes no sense that this can be an argument against an idea.

  • Paul Marks

    The Covid “vaccines” were not very “effective” and they were certainly not “safe”.

    Very many many people, around the world, have been killed or injured by these injections – the excess deaths make grim reading.

    But the chances of anyone being brought to justice over this are very lower – Dr Fauci and co will not be sent to prison.

  • Stonyground

    Conflating those who had doubts about the anti Covid injections with anti vaxers was a favoured tactic of those who would have us injected against our will. Vaccines in general are well proven to be safe and highly effective. There isn’t any long term data about the safety of the anti Covid injections and the claims of its effectiveness boil down to well I had the jab but caught the bug anyway but it would have been much worse if I hadn’t been jabbed.

  • APL

    I don’t much care for Dr Campbell, but it’s been interesting to watch his journey from dyed in the wool establishment carnival barker, to lone, but sane voice in the wilderness.

    This interview with Professor Angus Dalgleish, is interesting. It’s all a fascinating clip, but the excerpt from 17:30, is well worth waiting for.

    “we were all bullied and frightened and feared, as they say in some places, into thinking this was really serious and we had to do what we were told otherwise we’d all die, and that person that should come forward and be held to account is Neil Ferguson, …[]… especially, as all his previous stuff has been completely wrong ..”